Two sets of discussions between the leaders of North and South Korea Wednesday were "satisfactory," the latter said. But Roh Moo-hyun also said it was evident that the North's government still doesn't trust its neighbor, and he rejected an invitation to stay an extra day for more talks. A joint statement on details of the summit with Kim Jong-Il was expected to be released Thursday.
A "complete and correct" declaration of its nuclear programs and the disabling of its main reactor complex by Dec. 31 have been agreed to by North Korea, reports said. The latter work will be supervised by personnel from the US, the reports said. The agreement came out of last week's six-way negotiations in Beijing. North Korea will receive 1 million tons of fuel oil and other concessions in return.
A list of hundreds of Al Qaeda recruits from as far away as Europe has been found in the aftermath of a clash in Iraq, a US military spokesman said Wednesday. Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner said the list included biographies and photos of many of the extremists, the route each took to Iraq, the names of the recruiters, and formal pledges of those willing to go on "suicide" missions.
Buddhist monks were fleeing Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar), to escape arrest Wednesday for their participation in last week's antigovernment protests. But the US Embassy reported that civilians involved in the demonstrations were being seized in late-night raids on their homes. The military government put the number of arrests at 6,000, although 229 others detained last week were released, one of them said.
New worries that Russia may use its natural gas resources to bully customers arose after its Gazprom monopoly threatened to cut supplies to neighboring Ukraine at the end of the month. Gazprom demanded $1.3 billion that it said hadn't been paid for fuel already supplied. Ukraine's energy minister rushed to Moscow for urgent meetings on the matter. In each of the past two winters, Russia has disrupted supplies to former Soviet republics in payment disputes, with European customers also affected because the pipelines cross Ukraine.
With final ballots being counted, the allies from Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution appeared on the verge of winning enough seats to regain control of parliament from pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich. But Yanukovich's party still held the overall lead, and enough uncertainty remained that President Viktor Yushchenko called on national television (above) for five of the allies to open consultations on forming a new government. His appeal was a sign that he and the closest of his allies, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, might be unable to form a coalition, analysts said.
Millions of dollars worth of merchandise was destroyed or stolen in a fire that roared through impoverished Somalia's main marketplace Tuesday night, followed by a looting spree. A trader was shot to death while trying to defend his goods. The market in Mogadishu has been the scene of frequent clashes between rival fighters, and gunfire may have ignited flammable material, reports said. Above, traders clear debris from the still-smoking market
In an about-face, Poland's government said it will invite observers to its Oct. 21 election after all. The government had said last month that Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers wouldn't be welcome because the alliance had begun making monitoring plans without waiting to be asked. OSCE members, among them Poland, have an agreement on observing elections based on need and scheduling. The OSCE already is committed to sending monitors to an Oct. 21 election in Switzerland.